Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sync PC bookmarks with Safari on iPhone

File this one under "Things I should have done a long time ago."
I have been using Firefox Sync to sync my bookmarks across multiple PCs using the Firefox browser. That works great if you only have PCs running Firefox to your name, but we have smart phones and iPads in our lives.

Are you tired of having all of your bookmarks synced across your computers, but not your iPhone? Sure you can get the Firefox home app for free, which contains all of your Firefox bookmarks, but how about something that's integrated into your Safari browser on your iPhone? Enter Xmarks.

What's that? You don't sync your bookmarks on your multiple PCs? You should, when you add a bookmark on your laptop, it automatically shows up on your desktop and on your PC at work. Xmarks add-on for Firefox will sync your bookmarks not only across multiple PCs running Firefox, but the add-on is also available for Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari (on Macs).

Now I admit, this method is a little convoluted and there should really be a more elegant solution, but trust that at least it works.

  1. Are you using iCloud to backup your bookmarks on your iPhone? The first step would be to go into Settings > iCloud and turn off bookmark backup to iCloud.
  2. Next, for your main browser where you keep all of your updated bookmarks, download the Xmarks add-on. Sync all local bookmarks to Xmarks.
  3. If you are on Windows, download and install the Xmarks add-on for Internet Explorer. (If you are on Mac, download and install the Xmarks add-on for Safari.) Sync your local bookmarks to your Xmarks bookmarks.
  4. Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB cable.
  5. Open iTunes. Select your iPhone in the Devices menu on the left.
  6. Select the Info tab at the top. Scroll down to the Other field. Check the "Sync bookmarks with" checkbox. Click the pulldown box next to this checkbox, and select Internet Explorer (or Safari if you are on Mac).
  7. Click apply at the bottom of the screen to accept these changes. You will be warned that you will be changing the bookmarks on your device. Opt to replace all bookmarks on your iPhone.
  8. On the Summary tab, make sure you have the check box “Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi” checked. This will ensure that your bookmarks will be synced with Xmarks every time you charge your phone at home.

Now every time you update a bookmark on your iPhone, or any PC with Xmarks, all other devices will be updated with the same bookmark. This goes for creating, updating, and deleting.

Enjoy your synced bookmarks across all devices!